The Art of Being Okay

Chapter 14

Dictionary: Optimism

The tendency to look on the more favorable or "bright" side of a situation; the belief that things will turn out for the better

Ability to see the best in all things

Hopefulness; confidence

(Philosophy) doctrine that good ultimately triumphs over evil and that the universe is constantly improving

(Philosophy) Leibniz concept that this world is the best of all possible worlds




Muttering under his breath, Jamie traced his fingers over the second and last definitions, italicized in his Mom's fancy dictionary for some reason.

It was also underlined, but Jamie wasn't stupid, cue eye roll (wow, it was cool thinking about everything like a writer. Jamie loved being a writer!). Point is, Jamie knew his mom put the underlining there and his mom was a psychologist and helped people who were sad a lot of the time.

Jamie had secretly wanted to be a psychologist when he was a kid because it didn't sound like there was anything worth doing more than helping make sad people happy.

But that was dumb kid stuff and the world didn't work like that. Otherwise, his mom could make Jack happy, but Jack didn't even want anyone to help him be happy. Jamie didn't understand that.

Why be sad when you can be happy? Jack was really sad a lot, and sometimes he didn't even show up to mentor Jamie! If someone could help Jack be happy, why wouldn't Jack just talk to them? He'd stop being sad. Jamie believed in his mom that much: he believed that all it took from his mom were several well-chosen words over several perfectly sound tracked meetings and people could be happy. Those were the things Jamie believed, but here were the things he knew: the world didn't work like that and people hate themselves and can't help being sad all the time.

And also because people waste their entire time making other people sad on purpose, without thinking, and sometimes accidently. Other people make us sad, but we'd be lonely without them. Loneliness is like sadness but it's worse because it's a type of sadness that shifts into your bones and churns beneath your skin until it's a tangible melancholy that you can hear on every breath. There is nothing worse than being lonely.

Jamie hopes Jack isn't depressed; he kind of thinks he is though, because Jack's mouth is always smiling without reaching his eyes. (That might be the eating thing that Jamie hates thinking about because it weird and strange and twists up his insides painful with what one might refer to as fear and guilt).

But despite all this, despite humanities best efforts to make idiots and fools of themselves, Jamie believed everyone could be happy.

That, quite possibly, was why Jamie was a child and a writer. Because writers, even at their most pessimistic, believe in humans enough to write about them. And children, regardless of their age, stay children as long as they believe that no one's story is hopeless.

It is a sad thing that we aren't all children.

Jamie felt sad, like Jack sometimes, because of everything that happened to Jack and because Jamie didn't know what to do about it. But that feeling went away, because Jack saw Jamie more and missed less of their writing sessions and even led him into a prank war with the midgets!

One of the best parts of the entire game was how Jack's smile kept threatening to rip his face in half (that, Jamie pulled a face, considering, would be extremely gross. And disgusting, he added using his 'big boy vocabulary'.) Jamie made a different, more monstrous face at his inner mom voice.

And Jack laughed at Jamie's faces, with eyes that twinkled and danced and - Jamie felt something he didn't quite understand shift.


Pitch reclines in his chair. He feels very snazzy while doing so.

Pitch, before progressing on to the part where he actually works, takes the moment to lament his lack of sunglasses.

He's heard about the Frost kids recent hospitalization and thinks this: All Pitch really needs to do is get the kid to kill himself – starve himself, Pitch corrects – and Guardian will be completely destroyed.

He loves when things he can spin spring his way.

But before he can make motions to inspire this, Pitch's conscious speaks up, in one final bid against something as inhumanly cruel as manipulating Jack's eating disorder, of twisting Jack's already twisted mind even more against him.

Pitch has long since been in the habit of ignoring his conscious and doesn't intend of revoking that decision anytime soon.

However, at the same time, the whole concept leaves a bitter taste is Pitch's mouth, because Pitch admired Jack a little bit, and dammit, Pitch really couldn't wait for the sequel to Belief.

It was his favorite novel yet, and Pitch had been over the moon when Man In Moon Publications announced that "beloved author Jack Frost's new novel is going to be the sequel to one of his earlier novels, Belief."

The managing partners, when Pitch showed up to work, had flinched away from his good mood.

After he left the room, all of them had pulled out their phones and checked on their accounts and then their loved ones and then their children.

Which, oddly enough, ultimately did nothing to decrease their anxiety.

Pitch didn't necessarily understand why everyone had gotten approximately ten percent more scared of him, but he doesn't mind and can't deny that he greatly enjoys this new position.

Everything is coming up Pitch right now, and he doesn't need the senseless destruction of Jack. He's got Guardian by the horns, and Rise has already collapsed on itself and the public was with him.

The IRS was climbing in fear debts being paid and lawsuits against them failing and Pitch got front row seats to the upcoming chaotic loss of confidence of the lower class.

It was going to be glorious.

Who wouldn't be excited?

Pitch look around and thought: me.

(it's the worst thing in the world to be lonely)


"Sandy," Tooth breaths.

She's the only one that has spoken, since the end of The Slideshow. Jack's mouth is open in awe, North is beaming proudly, and Bunnymund is warily prodding the place where hope should reside.

Babytooth hits Sandy. "You've waited this long to tell us?!" She exclaims. Nobody objects at the 'us' in that statement and no one objects to the violence because they all kind of agree.

Didn't feel right.

Sandy shrugs.

Tooth hits him, this time. None of the others have moved, still processing. Tooth is used to things being sprung on her – #bad organization, coughNorthcough– and as such, she is able to employ violence as she reacts to the hope Sandy is handing them on a platter.

Sandy lips widened comically and he is forced back with the strength - nay, energy - of Tooth's punch. Grumpy, he frowns at Tooth and slouches over a piece of paper.

Clearly, violence runs in the family.

"We're not related!" Babytooth fumes. "Sandy, seriously, we've been going out of our mind with worry –"

"A' give it a rest." Bunnymund objects. He rubs his hands together gleefully. Privately, Jack thinks Bunnymund is better at the whole gleeful hand rub than most villains. "We've got our angle." It sounds so sinister coming out of Bunnymund's mouth that Jack immediately responds.

"Let's not have Bunny over here ever talk to the press. Or anyone who still believes we are the good guys. So, basically, Jamie." Many of the parents had pulled their kids from the program, as a result of newspaper articles and the undefended charges against them.

Personally, Jack had money on Pitch and blackmail but no one was willing to take him up on that. Wise.

Jack wished he lived with stupider people sometimes.

Then, they probably wouldn't have gotten the whole anorexic thing.

Jack doesn't want to think about that. He has no reason to and he's happy now, but he still is. "I …" Jack starts, and then stops.

Babytooth looks at him, concerned. "What's up, Jack?"

Jack shakes his head to clear it, three times exactly. "Nothing."


Can we focus on me now?

An irate Sandy bangs one of North's many paper holders against the wall.

"The desk probably would have been better for that, mate," Bunnymund smirks.

Look, I've got a way to save guardian. We've simply got to prove double jeopardy. Prove that North is guardian.

North finally stirs, confirming Sandy's statement. "Pitch sued me for tax evasion. But that was years ago, friends."

Still the same charge.

"And this means we win, no?" North inquires.

It means we win.

"But –" Tooth goes to point out potential failures, holes in their plan, mistakes that can be made. Sandy shushes her.

"But –" This time, when Tooth tries to continue, Sandy holds up his prewritten, I have cancer card.

Tooth glares, but gestures for him to continue. Sandy turns his back to them and scribbles furiously on the back of his it means we win paper.

Do you doubt my kickassery as a lawyer?

"Someone's bringing out the sass," Jack comments, to general groans of everyone else present.

So. Are we ready to get started?

There is no verbal response to that. One isn't necessary, not really, not this time, not when everyone is already in unspoken agreement.

And no one, not even Bunnymund and all his pessimism could deny that things were actually looking up, for once.



Times News Article: Multi-Billionaire's Suicide

By : Clark Kent

The stress of the job can get to anyone, right? Even multi-billionaire and wildly successful tax executive at the IRS, Pitch Black.

Last night, morticians estimating around eleven fifteen, Pitch Black committed suicide. While initially, murder was suspect, due to lack of a note or explanation, detectives were forced to give the matter up, declaring it a suicide at one-fifteen this afternoon.

Quotes on scene detective, Will Graham, "They called me in, really, to determine the motives for murder, and honestly, in my expert opinion, it wasn't. Now, I told them that like, five hours ago, so will you kindly get the fuck out of my face?"

The detective brushed past, leaving us wondering what had convinced him so of the suicide. Upon entering the office, it became more apparent.

To begin: Pitch was elaborately placed inside a white room and a single pristine, white couch that he was eagle spread across, both wrists slit. There were smaller cuts, further up his arm and on his legs, and the words "I did it" drip down the walls.

Originally looked on as a calling card, professional opinion is now changing, taking the message on the wall to be a note. Sources reveal that Pitch and the IRS's longstanding legal battle over Guardian was about to take an irreversible turn – and not in their favor either!

However, in this case, motive is not a problem. We talked to a moose-like, charming, Mid-Western FBI agent, who told us: "Well, no one much liked Pitch, did they?"



Bunnymund is the first one to find out, chronologically.

North is the second, because Bunnymund calls him.

"What is this you tell me? Pitch is dead? Surely, this news is good?" North's voices booms out of Bunnymund's cheap, disposable phone.

"…Yeah," Bunnymund says eventually, with a carefully neutral tone. "He … he killed himself, mate."

North is silent for a long time. When he does speak, it is softly and only to say, "Is not good, then?"

"Don't know." Bunnymund's gruff voice quickens.

There is another lingering silence.

North breaks it again.

"Who else knows?"

Bunnymund thinks about it for a half second. "Don't know. Probably you and me only, mate. Just found the article myself." He doesn't need to tell North that North is the first person Bunnymund called; it's implied.

"Is not good," North confirms, shaking his head solemnly. "I shall call Toothie!"

"Alright," Bunnymund repeats himself as well. He goes to hang up the phone, unsure what words can be said in the light of their tragic success.

"And you!" North stops him with a couple of words. "You must come here!"

"Yeah, alright, mate." Bunnymund concedes grumpily, deeply, deeply relieved. "S'long as I don't have to bring Jack this time." It is a feeble joke and one Bunnymund belated realizes wasn't in the best taste, but it's said with none of the bite as it had been in the beginning of the summer.

Now, Bunnymund says it and can't wait to bring Jack along with him.

And when North replies with, "Perfect! Sandy is already here!" Bunnymund knows, then, that North heard the joke as the offer that it was and he grins in the phone, wishing North could see it and feeling like he gets it anyway, hangs up and gets in his car.

Almost instantaneously, Bunnymund gets out his phone and dials Jack's number.

He hates texting.


Ice, ice, bab

Jack's phone is picked up before the first chorus finishes, faster than Jack's ever picked up his phone before. Bunnymund's a little surprised.

"Oi! Frost! Where are ya?"

Instead of Jack's surprisingly deep tones, Bunnymund hears a distinctively feminine giggle and an even more distinctively feminine voice. "Jack isn't here right now –"

In the background, Bunnymund can actually hear Jack himself saying, "Not now, Pip, that's my phone. It might be important."

"But Jack …" the girl, Pippa, complains.

"Miss?" Bunnymund interrupts. "Just tell 'im it's me calling." Sure that this will work.

Pippa asks him who he is and Bunnymund mentally facepalms, shoulders drooping comically. His eyes narrow. He recognizes this for the opportunity that it is. "Aster. E. Aster." Bunnymund tells Pippa, who relays this information to Jack.

Bunnymund can hear the laughter in Jack's voice when he tells her, "Don't know any 'Asters'. It must be one of those telemarkers –"

"What's that?" Pippa asks. She doesn't – of course she doesn't get out much. She's in twenty-four hour psychiatric care.

"Boring, cocky, dicks. Kind of like a friend of mine, named Bunny, actually. Hang up, sweets."

Pippa hangs up.

Bunnymund could hear the laughter in his voice! He could hear it! Jack knew exactly who he was talking to, the bastard!

Elsewhere, the bastard himself was barely restraining the laughter as he imagined Bunnymund's reaction to being hung up on.

He had it coming to him, though.

I mean, E. Aster? A fake name? Seriously? Everyone knew his name is Bunnymund. He should just embrace it at this point.

Chortling to himself over the absurdity of Bunnymund's "name", Jack turns back to Pippa, who is jumping on the bed, clutching his phone.

This is probably the happiest Jack has ever seen her, and he's able to forget about everything that has happened recently when Pippa smiles at him.

And then she drops his phones.

It's an accident.

It slips from her hand.

It could happen to anyone.

It breaks.

It didn't used to happen this easily, or this abruptly, Jack carefully doesn't think as he watches the doctors come in and sedate a screaming, twitching and seizing Pippa.

Several miles away, there is Tooth and there is North; North is preparing to tell Tooth the news and Tooth is blearily making them pancakes and flipping through the channels when the headline, Pitch Black, Regime of Terror Toppled catches her eyes.

North figures that Tooth knows when Tooth, clad in boxers and an overlarge tee-shirt, hair comically fraying out of her carefully constructed braids interrupts his thoughts up by loudly dropping the skillet.

It breaks.

It's too busy a day for pancakes, even though Sundays with the Group are always pancake day – honestly, Sandy and Bunnymund and Jack should have been here by now – because while there may be very few things more important than pancakes, suicides are apparently one of those things.

Jack didn't show at these weekly brunches very often and never ate more than two pancakes. None of them had ever noticed it before, how many social events and conversations revolved around eating (and before always seemed to mean before Jack's eating disorder was discovered).

To Jack, not eating at in public at these events was breathing to him. Eating in public, that was his throat gargling razor blades and paralyzing fear.

Tooth had been trying to make Jack's favorite pancakes for breakfast. But looking back, she can't remember a single time that she ever noticed Jack eat pancakes and she hates herself a little bit more, for not figuring it out.

She feels guilty as hell and helpless and it hurts because she is. Eating disorders don't just affect one person, they affect all their friends and dealing with that is - hard.

Tooth's published various memoirs dealing with eating disorders and overcoming them; she should have known.

Because there are always the signs you could have noticed, always the moments when you could have pressed what was wrong, and you won't forget the moments where you let it go, convinced yourself you were wrong, and even thought it was better not to say anything.

They are the moments when you were selfish and cowardly. (Tooth knows that's not true, objectively, but intimately believes it anyway)

It's one of the first things you do, Tooth will tell Jack later. You relive everything with a new perspective and you hate yourself for being so blind.

He'll apologize.

She'll laugh.

He'll have tears in his eyes and so will she.

But Tooth doesn't want to think about that, not the guilt and the hurt and pain, not right now, on pancake Sunday, but she can't help it. It hangs over her, and it's all she thinks about, all the time. It's a constant concern and fear that builds up every day, and it reminds her unpleasantly of Bunnymund.

Bunnymund had been an alcoholic, before he met Tooth and she'd only known him to relapse once.

He'd gotten two arrests and one DUI and every night she'd go to bed, imagining him on the streets, drunk.

It was like that again with Jack, but it was worse, because Tooth had always felt Bunnymund's willpower and strength and she'd take comfort in North's steadfast reassurances that he would pull through. Tooth never doubted that. The doubt was that Bunnymund would die or fall too far before he could.

Tooth never doubted Jack's strength either, but eating disorders are battles against yourself and Tooth didn't know if Jack – if Jack – Tooth didn't know anything, and she was the girl who knew everything.

Jack was scarier, because Tooth didn't know what part of Jack was stronger – the part that didn't want to eat or the part that did.


Babytooth looks at the Sunday paper in shock.

She looks at the heading. The New York Times. She puts the newspaper down and goes to get a coffee. It's Sunday fucking morning. Babytooth can't deal with out a coffee, not yet.

Babytooth gets home at eleven thirty and Jack is at her door, with a bleeding hand and pieces of a phone. He doesn't say anything.

Babytooth walks in and flips on the television. It's the news. She goes to change it and Jack stops her, pointing at the screen in utter disbelief.

They are the last to know, at Babytooth's apartment, watching the news for the hour long span of the broadcast, before Babytooth speaks up.

"If I ever killed myself," Babytooth remarks sadly while watching the news with Jack, "I'd leave a note saying 'I just want to be somewhere where people don't suck so much, life isn't so terribly bad anymore and things could be fixed." She shrugged, as if to say that was just a thought and probably a dumb overthought one at that. "What about you?" She asks, cautiously, trying to act like it's just a throwaway question.

Smiling somewhat sardonically, Jack turns his body towards Babytooth. "I'm still alive," he tells her. Oops, the air around Jack smirks.

Wait, his invisible tremors and ghost words seemed to promise her, but Babytooth has turned away, ignoring the advisability of asking Jack about death.

A lone figure on the doorstep turns away, fingers clenched into fists and steps into a car thinking: I'd say, in my note, "I just don't want it to hurt anymore". Bunnymund is frowning as he pulls away.

"I just didn't want it to hurt anymore," he said, once.


Dictionary Definition: Pessimism

An expectation of a negative outcome

A lack or hope or confidence in the future; a tendency to constantly expect the worst

Ability to see the worst in everything; tendency to view everything in the most negative or gloomy way

The doctrine that this world is the worst version of the world or life and that everything will eventually succumb to evil or lead to evil; belief that evil will eventually triumph over good.



Bunnymund glanced at the dictonary, opened to the 'P' section and flinches.

North didn't think anything of the page.

"'m tellin' ya. There's somethin' odd 'bout to happen." Bunnymund insists, normally gelled hair springing loose.

"Friend! Do not worry too much! Look! Things are looking up. Jack is looking up. There will be party! You will be reassured." North winks at him.

Bunnymund adopts a paranoid expression as he checks the surrounding area. "Seriously. Mate. 'm dead serious here."

North's jovial expression slides off. "Things are different. They too, are better. What do you see, friend?" he replies, somberly.

"Don't know. But something bad."

"I hope you are wrong."

Bunnymund knows better than to responds. He's never wrong – okay, maybe he can be wrong but it's rare and no one's perfect and we just don't talk about that, yeah? – and he's not wrong now. Yet, strangely, the proud man wishes he was, and that North would humiliate him later over 'yet another failure'.

He won't be, though. North feels things in his belly and his gut, but Bunnymund always knows when spring is coming, always knows which way the wind is going to turn. Right now, the wind is soured and sharp and blistering pain over raw scabs.

North doesn't want to know this, though, and so Bunnymund changes the subject. "Did the little ankle bitter eat the fruitcake today?"

North smiles, bright and false, lightened. "He asked. I mean, only for a bite and because he didn't have breakfast, but he asked. It's progress. He said he was going to visit Pippa later."

They both know then, that the fruitcake doesn't mean anything. Pippa's the wall that stops Jack's progress and sometimes, Bunnymund wishes he could knock her down for Jack.


"Ave? Ave! Avery! For heaven's sake! What's wrong?" Tooth stumbles into to her sister's room, carrying a book from work to find Babytooth in the corner of her room, curled up and sobbing.

"My god, what' s wrong?" Babytooth's cry is a high, keening wail around a lump the size of the sun in her throat that Babytooth can't even calm down enough to get out.

It's what brought Tooth running to her sister's room in the first place and it's keeping her there, now that she knows what it is. She watches her sister cry, and doesn't know why, so she slowly sinks down beside her, and surrenders, sobbing the tiny, breathless, rapid sobs that Tooth only made when it mattered.

Softly, she leaned her shaking head onto her sister's shoulder and let their tears mingle for hours.

When Babytooth finally got her breath back, she smiled a half smile; Tooth gave her a bittersweet smirk in return.

"I just needed to do it before I actually have to be strong."

"Pre-emptive crying?" Their smiles become more solid at this point.

"Suppose so." Tooth snorts at Babytooth's shrugged answer.

"Poor attempt at trying to be cool," Tooth informs her sister.

"Shut up. You needed to cry to." Babytooth, still next to her sister on the floor nudges her with her foot so as not to shift Tooth's head off Babytooth's shoulder.

"Suppose so," Tooth said, jovial, mocking, in a loud deep voice reminiscent of North.

Babytooth's eyebrows danced upward. Glances were exchanged, first of disbelief, then love, then amusement, and then laughter.

They didn't fall to the floor with their giggles only because they were already on the floor, and they recovered from the laughter faster than the tears, but that didn't matter; it mattered that they cried, and then laughed.

And the crying bit wasn't really even that important.

It was the bit, that ending, where they smiles at each other that mattered, that even though they were sad and bittersweet and hurting, they could laugh together.

Sisters always can.


Sisters can be a lot of things, in Jamie's mind. They can be obnoxious, and annoying, and selfish, and a drain on time, and a serious detriment to your coolness points. Lots of thing, like Jamie said.

Sophie Bennett was all of these things, especially on the first Monday Jamie didn't have (get) to go to Guardian.

Jamie hadn't had to watch her since Guardian started and he had forgotten what a demanding little handful that she was. She tottered around the room, pushing things over for the heck of it and pooping in inconvenient places and wailing whenever Jamie looked away for even a second.

Jamie calls in backup: Kat.

Kat arrives in a foul mood, her normally pulled back hair dripping wet, knotted and sticking up, a murderous expression on her beautiful face.

"I'm sorry. And," Jamie started at Kat's expression, "– thanks for doing this, really. He'll appreciate it."

Kat rolls her eyes. "Just 'cause you're a writer now, doesn't mean you can be all mysterious when you've interrupted my shower and I've got a several page essay to write."

"Oh!" Jamie exclaimed, finally remembering that Kat failed English last year and was forced into taking it again over the summer. "Well, I can do that for you."

Kat, looking as though she is on the brink of screaming and storing off in tears of frustration, pauses. "Okay." Continue, she thinks. This sounds promising.

Jamie looks relieved and Kat barely has time to be worried about that before he is launching a hefty sigh, hugging her, turning an odd, lobster color subsequently, and darting off.

Retroactively, she regrets wasting that prime worrying opportunity.

"Thanks for watching Pippa again! Jack'll appreciate it!"

Then again, Jack Frost will appreciate something she does? Kat thinks it might just be worth it. But Kat doesn't know how potty trained Sophie is and it looks like Jamie just feed her a barrel of candy, so maybe not.

Despite Jamie's joy, he can't ignore a lingering bad feeling he has as he skips out the door to meet with Jack.


Sandy texts Jack in the morning, reminding him to eat breakfast, and inviting him over to watch a silent movie – a Louis Brookes film – with him.

Jack replies with a yes, and Sandy is overcome with terror.

He never talks, but Sandy feels things, feels dreams and nightmares and hidden secrets of the world and he can't feel anything other than an overwhelming sense of dread.


Pippa is dead. We're sorry.



Jack stumbles blindly through the rain. It's almost autumn. 'Course it's starting to freeze. He doesn't even notice how violently he is shivering, because what's the point?

Do you know what that's like? To have your entire world, the purpose of everything you are fade away quietly? Not even a crash and burn, not expectedly, but just silently gone.

Everything. Jack shakes and shakes and doesn't cry. Everything that you are. Everything that matters.

Oh god and Jack doesn't even know where he is going and doesn't even feel anything and it's probably more that his body has gone into complete shock than anything else but it doesn't stop him from getting soaked and hammered with raindrops.

It's one of those rains that pours beautifully in sheets, but Jack the writer can't even see the poetry in Pippa's death.

She's washing away with the water, the bringer of life.

It's ironic, and if Jack even thought about it, he'd break his hand punching a wall. Maybe he'd cry.

Probably not. Jack's never cried much, not really and not ever. He's never cried because Pippa would know. Pippa had to see him and see that nothing had changed and that everything was okay.

Everything would still be okay. He just had to find Pippa and tell her that.

He'd seen her body. Hemorrhaged, overnight. The meds created a reaction, a clot, in her brain. We didn't catch it, because it's the first time this side effect has popped up and sometimes, you don't catch these things. There's nothing we could have done if we had.

Babytooth had been there.

There was pain in her eyes, at everything suddenly not being good, when it had been so great lately.

She looked at Jack, and her anger faded completely. There was no way to even begin describing the look in his face, the shape of his body against the wall, all hunched and broken and thin and blank. There was no way to describe it, until you saw his eyes.

Jack's eyes still looked like that.

There's a hooker in the alley that Jack is passing, and he thinks she steals his wallet, barely noticing when she starts taking off his clothes. Jack wonders if this is going to be some sort of rape, or if he's already consented and he just can't tell yet.

It doesn't matter, he presumes, empty and silent, a corpse more than Pippa ever will be, because he can close his eyes and pretend that Pippa isn't dead and the world is right.

His purpose was extinguished overnight and he wasn't even there. It was sudden, even though the doctors were always giving him vague warnings about potential side effects of various medications and warning him of her medically unstable condition.

"We'd be able to do more if you'd brought her here sooner, but not much." They'd told Jack when he had first checked her in.

It was his fault she was dead.

He broke the rules. He stopped living for her, and starting living for himself. Pippa, a grotesque, animated puppet, falling to pieces and spinning 'round and 'round on a tightly coiled red spring came to mind and stuck there.

Jack was the string, the thread, he lived for her. Only, he stopped, started to inhabit his own body, his own disgusting weak, worthless body, and her life had fled while he was busy eating fruitcake.

And now, Jack's stuck with the unfamiliar life, with this hollow body and that's when it started again, the itching need to control his appearance. The voice that twitched in the back of his mind and told him, 'this body isn't yours' and 'you can't control yourself' 'I told that if you started eating you would ever be able to stop' and 'it's your fault things got this far out of control' 'it's your fault she's dead'.

He lets the lady fuck him and rob him and he isn't even aware, and neither, really, is the hooker on the side of the street.

But the two of them, at night in the dark, pale and thin, are like skeletons, unfeeling, dead shells of people, and it looks like you should be able to hear their bones, grinding up against each other, creaking and shattering under nothing but the barest hints of pressure.

There should be clanking, you think. They barely touch, but you can see the bruises that will blossom in the morning. They're gyrating against each other, and girl has boobs too small to really deserve the name, and you wince when you see her shoulder smashing into Jack's.

Eventually, you can't tell them apart: they've the same, inattentive look on their face, the same colorless skin, the same aura of hopelessness and depression, the same unnatural thinness.

They are skeletons, you think again, only this time, you mean it literally: they are nothing more than bleached bones, brainless and bodiless, breaking against each other in the alley.

You can't watch anymore, not as their bodies become increasingly tangle and indistinguishable, and not as the night darkens and you can see their stark, naked figure against the night, already dead.


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